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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarian Essays/Vegan Essays

Vegetarians in Paradise regularly presents informative articles by guest contributors on subjects of interest to vegetarians and vegans. This month we feature a commentary by M. Butterflies Katz, the co-author of Incredibly Delicious: the Vegan Paradigm Cookbook published by Gentle World.

By M. Butterflies Katz

You are not alone in your viewing of non-violence to all beings (i.e. veganism) being the right way to live your life. Some of the greatest thinkers of recorded history wrote about "abstinence from eating animals and their bodily secretions," before the word "vegan" ever existed.

You are in the company of these revered philosophers, scientists, and statesman. In present times, you are no longer alone in your ideals. There is an ever-growing number of like-minded people blossoming on our planet. Veganism is spreading. All our effort has really accomplished something. We can change the world (for the better), one step at a time.

You know you are not alone when you see that Veg News has expanded to a magazine format or when you go on-line and discover many new vegan web stores. There are more and more festivals and events attended by hundreds of vegans. There are vegans in countries all over the world.

M. Katz There are vegans in all walks of life and professions, including politicians like U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich and major motion picture celebrities such as Joaquin Phoenix (Ladder 49, Gladiator, and his major motion picture, Walk the Line.) The following is a list of some of the great minds of all time and their timeless thoughts on eating animals. Take note of the coincidence that your mind thinks like these great minds. Great minds think alike! You are not alone!

Count Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist & philosopher, (1829-1910):

    "If a man earnestly seeks a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from animal food."

Albert Einstein, physicist, 1921 Nobel Prize recipient:

    "Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."

    "It is my view that a vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind."

Alice Walker, American author, The Color Purple:

    "The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than blacks were made for whites, or women for men."

Mahatma Gandhi, Hindu pacifist and spiritual leader, (1869-1948):

    "It is very significant that some of the most thoughtful and cultured men are partisans of a pure vegetable diet."

    "I do not regard flesh-food as necessary for us at any stage and under any clime in which it is possible for human beings ordinarily to live, I hold flesh-food to be unsuited to our species."

The Buddha, Indian avatar, (circa 563-483 B.C.):

    "All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love life. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do?"

Leonardo Da Vinci, Italian sculptor, artist, inventor, (1425-1519):
    "The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men."

Plutarch, Greek philosopher, (46-120 A.D.):

    "The obligations of law and equity reach only to mankind; but kindness and beneficence should be extended to the creatures of every species and these will flow from the breast of a true man, as streams that issue from the living fountain."

Henry David Thoreau, American author, naturalist (1812-1862):

    "Every man who has ever been earnest to preserve his higher or poetic faculties in the best condition has been particularly inclined to abstain from animal food."

George Bernard Shaw, Anglo-Irish author and playwright, 1925 Nobel Prize Recipient, (1856-1950):

    "My situation is a solemn one: life is offered to me on the condition of eating beefsteaks. But death is better than cannibalism. My will contains directions for my funeral, which will be followed, not by mourning coaches, but by oxen, sheep, flocks of poultry, and a small traveling aquarium of live fish, all wearing white scarves in honor of the man who perished rather than eat his fellow creatures. It will be, without the exception of Noah's Ark, the most remarkable thing of its kind ever seen."

    "The average age (longevity) of a meat-eater is 63. I am on the verge of 85 and still at work as hard as ever. I have lived quite long enough and am trying to die, but I simply cannot do it. A single beefsteak would finish me, but I cannot bring myself to swallow it. I am oppressed with a dread of living forever. That is the only disadvantage of vegetarianism."

Plato, Greek philosopher, (circa 428-347 B.C.):

    "The Gods created certain kinds of beings to replenish our bodies; they are the trees and the plants and the seeds."

Albert Schweitzer, M.D., Alsatian philosopher and medical missionary, 1952 Nobel prize recipient, (1875-1965):

    "--There slowly grew up in me an unshakable conviction that we have no right to inflict suffering and death on another living creature, unless there is some unavoidable necessity for it."

Benjamin Spock, M.D, the famous Dr. Spock pediatrician and author, (1903-1998):

    "When I was 88 years old, I gave up meat entirely and switched to a plant foods diet following a slight stroke. During the following months, I not only lost 50 pounds, but gained strength in my legs and picked up stamina. Now, at age 93, I'm on the same plant-based diet, and I still don't eat any meat or dairy products. I either swim, walk, or paddle a canoe daily and I feel the best I've felt since my heart problems began."

Isaac Bashevis Singer, Yiddish Laureate of literature, 1978 Nobel Prize recipient, (1904-1991):

    "If there would come a voice from God saying, 'I'm against vegetarianism!' I would say, 'Well, I am for it!' This is how strongly I feel in this regard."

Benjamin Franklin, American statesman, inventor, (1706-1790):

    "My refusing to eat meat occasioned inconveniency, and I have been frequently chided for my singularity. But my light repast allows for greater progress, for greater clearness of head and quicker comprehension."

Sir Thomas More, Statesman and Author (1478-1535):

    "The utopians feel that slaughtering our fellow creatures gradually destroys the sense of compassion, which is the finest sentiment of which our human nature is capable."

John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America and The Food Revolution:

    "It is increasingly obvious that environmentally sustainable solutions to world hunger can only emerge as people eat more plant foods and fewer animal products. To me it is deeply moving that the same food choices that give us the best chance to eliminate world hunger are also those that take the least toll on the environment, contribute the most to our long-term health, are the safest, and are also, far and away, the most compassionate towards our fellow creatures."

Michael Klaper, M.D., American author and international lecturer:

    "People are the only animals that drink the milk of the mother of another species. All other animals stop drinking milk altogether after weaning. It is unnatural for a dog to nurse from a mother giraffe; it is just as unnatural for a human being to drink the milk of a cow."

Michael Greger, M.D., American medical doctor, author, lecturer:

    "I think of veganism humbly and holistically. It's about taking personal responsibility in a world so full of needless suffering. It's challenging one's self to open one's eyes and question society's assumptions and habits. It's about critical thinking and compassion and how we would like to see the world evolve."

Rachel Carson, American author, Silent Spring (1907-1964):

    "We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such delight in killing, we set back the progress of humanity."

Reverend Dr. Andrew Linzey, Anglican priest, professor and author, Oxford University Chaplain:

    "The Christian argument for vegetarianism is simple: since animals belong to God, have value to God and live for God, then their needless destruction is sinful."

Howard Lyman, American author and international lecturer:

    "When we dare to think of the environmental threats facing our planet: air pollution, water pollution, land contamination, soil erosion, wildlife loss, desertification (the turning of verdant land into a condition resembling natural desert), rain forest destruction and global warming, humankind's profligate consumption of animal products has made a significant contribution to all of these ills, and it stands as the leading cause of many of them. Certainly these problems wouldn't disappear overnight but no other lifestyle change could produce as positive an impact on these profound threats to our collective survival as the adoption of a plant-based diet."

The above quotes were taken from INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS; RECIPES FOR A NEW PARADIGM by Gentle World ( ISBN#0-929274-25-3) http://www.gentleworld.org

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